Cornwall, day 3
A rainy a windy night, a branch on the tree near the caravan was scratching at the side, that or zombies, I’m going with tree, although I’m not convinced.
Despite the wind, rain and zombies, probably. I slept well and I was looking forward to Fridays excursion. Our first port of call was King Arthur’s Great Hall, in the village of Tintagel.
King Arthur’s Hall is a historic building in Fore Street, Tintagel, Cornwall, England. Built in the early 1930s by Frederick Thomas Glasscock it originally served as the headquarters for a social organization known as the Order of the Fellowship of the Knights of the Round Table. It contains some works of art relating to the Arthurian legend and is now a popular visitor attraction for Arthurian enthusiasts, and has a bookshop devoted to the subject at the front of the building.
Glasscock founded the Order of the Fellowship of the Knights of the Round Table in 1927 to promote Christian ideals and Arthurian notions of medieval chivalry. Glasscock was resident at Tintagel and responsible for the building of King Arthur’s Hall. The Hall was itself an extension of Trevena House, which had been John Douglas Cook’s residence and had been built on the site of the former Town Hall and Market Hall in Fore Street.
The 72 stained glass windows illustrating the Arthurian tales are by Veronica Whall. These tell the story of King Arthur and show the coats of arms and weapons of the knights involved. Whall designed 73 windows for the hall. As of 1997 it is considered to be the largest collection of stained glass panels of King Arthur made in the 20th century and a great example of Arts and Crafts workmanship.
There are also several paintings of scenes from King Arthur’s life by William Hatherell
The stained glass windows are beautiful and some of the most impressive I have seen.
A short browse of the gift shop and then on to Tintagel castle, having been there before I sort of knew what to expect, the walk down the hill, the climb up to the castle, oh god the climb. But it is absolutely worth it.
Spectacular views over the Atlantic and some of the most amazing granite formations I’ve ever seen.
The site of Tintagel Castle has been inhabited at least since the late Roman period, and probably earlier. Between the 5th and 7th centuries AD a prosperous community was based there. After a period of obscurity, in the 12th century Tintagel gained international literary fame when it was named by Geoffrey of Monmouth as the place where the legendary King Arthur was conceived. This may have been what inspired Richard, Earl of Cornwall, younger brother of Henry III, to site his castle at Tintagel in the 1230s. The castle had fallen into disrepair by 1330, but its associations with the Arthurian legend have helped to foster the site’s continuing international renown.
No conclusive evidence has been found that there was an Iron Age fort at Tintagel, although the site would have been similar to those of Iron Age promontory forts found on other south-western headlands, such as on Willapark headland, 1 mile east.
Similarly it is uncertain how much activity there was on the site in the Roman period. The two Roman road-markers from the area, one now in Tintagel church and one at Trethevy 1½ miles east, suggest some presence in the area in the 3rd and 4th centuries. Various small finds, including pottery and some late 3rd- and early 4th-century Roman coins, also suggest activity on the headland at this period, but this seems unlikely to have been significant.
The castle has a long association with Arthurian legends. This began in the 12th century when Geoffrey of Monmouth, in his mythical account of British history, the Historia Regum Britanniae, described Tintagel as the place of Arthur’s conception. Geoffrey told the story that Arthur’s father, King Uther Pendragon, was disguised by Merlin’s sorcery to look like Gorlois, Duke of Cornwall, the husband of Ygerna, Arthur’s mother.
Having had our fill of the views and magnificent area we headed back to the village, via a landrover trip up the hill, I’d done enough climbing.
We agreed that it was at this point in the holiday that a Cornish cream tea was much over due. Two scones a pot of clotted cream, a pot of, rather yummy, jam and a generous pot of tea, each one would have fed an army let alone two chaps, but the climb up to the castle meant that we had earned it.
We soon left the village and headed to the seaside town of Perranporth. It’s a surfers paradise and full of surfer types with tans and surfer hair, definitely not the sort of chaps who would make short work of two scones with clotted cream and jam. We walked to the Watering Hole on the sands where I enjoyed a bottle of Sol, with a wedge of lime stuck in the top, sheer perfection.
Finally we headed back to the caravan to get dinner, pizza and garlic bread. A couple of bottles of ale some crap TV and bed.
The best day of the holiday so far.